Disability Aid Dogs
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How is DAD recognised?

Founded on 16th February 1994, we are well over 20 years old. In the early to mid 90's there was little or no understanding of the then Disability Discrimination Act 1994, which made it almost impossible to take any trained dog anywhere unless a permit from the Guide Dogs was held.  

As this was in most cases near impossible, our founder Alex Van Oeveren made many complaints to the then Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) now known as The Australian Human Rights Commission.  Finally, after massive research and complaints to the Commission, Alex became a Disability Discrimination Legal Advocate.  In 2003, the complaints against numerous government agencies and commissions via the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, a huge milestone was reached, as an Organisation we were recognised by the Commission in 2003/2004.

Now, over 20 years later, the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 was revised via royal ascent in 2009.  We are also recognised by:

  • All State and Territory Public Transport Agencies, particularly NSW Railcorp (with the exception of the Western Australian Transport Authority as they require local government permits for an assistance dog to operate in that state).

  • Qantas Airlines 

  • Virgin Australia 

  • Jetstar Airlines

For more information see www.humanrights.gov.au 
You will not find a list of recognised organisations as the Commission is autonomous and does not directly accredit or endorse any particular Organisation. Look up the DDA 1992

We are NOT accredited via USA standards and are not a part of Assistance Dogs International (ADI)

How are we funded?

We are funded by the fees we charge, we do not rely on charity fund raisers, that is why we are still here after over 20 years. We do not rely on any hand outs, nor are we funded in any way by the government, so we are totally independent!

Our courses are also independent but are recognised in Australia and in parts of Europe and the UK.  This is because we have the industry experience and have been around for so long. We are the oldest and also one of the largest organisations of our type in Australia ... we will be here for the long haul.

How do I apply?

The application procedure is quite simple, you simply in the first instance send us an email that sets out your initial reasons for applying to us.

Please Note: A well set out and explanatory email with ALL your contact details, your address is all important. 

Is my personal information safe?

Under the Federal Privacy Act 1988 your information is only ever used within our Executive Management and Company Trainers that are under the same laws and our own privacy statement. 

Brief and incomplete email applications may not be answered - it is your independence - we need your full commitment to ensure we know who is applying.

How long till approved?

All applications will be assessed in the next Board Meeting (3 Directors), normally held monthly, so your application will be processed within a month under normal circumstances.

What happens next?

Once your email has been received, we will email you our Welcome and Information Pack which outlines all procedures of having a Disability Aid Dog or Home Therapy Assistance Dog.  Once you have read and initialled each page in understanding of our procedures and is returned to our Head Office, an Application form will be sent to you with an Application fee of $75.00, non-refundable.  When full application and fee received, as above, the next Board Meeting will decide your application.

What then?

A formal course will be sent to you (Basic Canine Understanding) for you to become proficient in our training programs. This is nearly always done via emails and phone calls if not close to one of our trainers:

  • Kingaroy - Nanango QLD
    Aprox 3Hrs NW Brisbane Air Port

  • Avoca Beach NSW
    Near Gosford/Woy Woy

  •  Rockingham Western Australia
    Aprox 1Hr South of Perth

How to recognise a DAD working dog?

disability aid dog

Do you train guide dogs?

No.  This is done by the Guide Dog Organisations and Vision Australia

Are Disability Aid Dogs recognised like guide dogs?

In most cases, yes.

How long does it take to train a Disability Aid Dog?

See Programs and this will give you some idea. The average is about 6 to 12 months.

Do you only use Labradors?

This is a common question, the answer is in most cases no.  Although a very good breed for Guide Dogs, we have found them expensive to buy and problematic in the health area, although some people love Labs, so we will use them.

Do you pre-train dogs?

Absolutely no.  We do not breed or buy dogs, nor do we retain the ownership of any dogs, we simply train you to train your dog.

Do I need to be disabled to have one of your dogs?

Yes. We need a medical certificate from your doctor and also a vet certification from your vet. You do not need to be physically disabled to qualify.

What disabilities do you recognise for your program?

All disabilities, specialising in emotional and mental disabilities like post-traumatic stress disorder, women who have been sexually assaulted, elderly and frail people, Diabetes, Autism and many more.  We also cover severe disabilities with an alternative handler and the list goes on.  

How do I know if I will be accepted?

Just send us an email here and tell us a little about you. Your address is important and also your contact phone number. We have STRICT privacy regulations under Federal Law.

What does it cost?

Home Therapy Assistance Dog (H.T.A.D.)
In this category, there is rarely a need for any formal training as the dog is but a recognised pet. The fees here are an Application Fee of $75.00, (non-refundable) we send you an information sheet and application form, then a full program and licence is charged for a 2 year certificate, then renewal charged for every two years thereafter.

Full Disability Aid Dog (M.A.D.)
This is otherwise, in law, known as an Assistance Dog.  A non-refundable application fee of $75.00 (non-refundable) is payable, then a full course, once successful with a full Public Access Test (P.A.T.), a licence fee is payable. Licence is renewed annually.  The full cost for our complete programme is generally around $1,700 to $2,200 for a fully accredited Disability Aid Dog.

Trainers Fees are included in our full fees, however, should they have to travel to a destination to meet with you, travel costs will be incurred by you.

Flight Access Certification Test (F.A.C.T.)
In Cabin flights with your Medical Assistance Dog may be obtainable after first probationary year of licencing with Disability Aid Dogs. There is a requirement for original Public Access Test; an Airport Terminal Public Access Test and an in-flight Self-Assessment. The pricing for F.A.C.T. is in our Welcome and Information Pack.

Can I trust Disability Aid Dogs?

We are a self-accrediting Organisation and a peak body in our own right. Some of our clients get government funding and our dogs fly in cabin with 2 major domestic airlines.

Our Patronjenifer & kari

Our Patron, Jenifer Parkhurst on a Virgin Flight with her wonder dog "Kari". This little bundle has saved Jenifer's life more than once and is an inspiration to us all. Jenifer is a highly talented dog trainer and has trained Kari in a remarkable way.

digital pacific

Digital Pacific have hosted and supported our organisation since 2001 over a decade of dedication and wonderful technical expertise.

graphic designer web developer

Jmax Graphics is a proud sponsor of Disability Aid Dogs. This website is donated with love and support.